Clayton Kershaw Tuesday reminded the Washington Nationals and the baseball world why he's considered the best pitcher on the planet.
In his first start coming off the disabled list, the left-hander threw seven shutout innings, scattered nine hits, struck out nine and walked none to to improve to 2-0.
"It felt good tonight. Obviously (I was) trying to pound the strike zone, so fortunately I was able to do that," Kershaw said after the game. "They got quite a few hits but I was able to limit the damage."
Although he didn't look frazzled, Kershaw had to shake off some nerves in his first Major League start this year in the United States.
"I'm always nervous every time I start," he said. "You want to do well, so same type of nerves tonight but after the first inning I was able to settle in okay."
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In his two starts this year The 26-year-old has a 0.66 ERA, 16 strikeouts and one walk.
The game was also a battle between two of the worst defenses, and it showed. The Nationals helped the Dodgers get on the board in the sixth when pitcher Blake Treinen and first baseman Adam LaRoche committed consecutive errors to start the inning. LA cashed in on a single by Hanley Ramirez, a fielder's choice by Andre Ethier, and a single by Juan Uribe to take a 3-0 lead.
Treinen (0-1) was chased in the inning, though all three runs he gave up were unearned. He took the loss in his first Major League start.
The Dodgers put the game out of reach with a four-run eighth inning. Already up 4-0, Hanley Ramirez homered to center field. That was followed by Drew Butera's three-run home run to put the Dodgers up, 8-0.
Butera has showed some pop in his bat lately hitting two homers in his last three games.
"Being aggressive that's the main thing for me. I'm staying aggressive, looking for something up in the zone and making solid contact," Butera told SportsNet LA afterward.
The Nationals took advantage of the Dodgers bullpen in the bottom of the eighth. Jayson Werth singled home Anthony Rendon and with two outs Jose Lobaton singled in two more runs to cut the Dodgers lead to 8-3.
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Chris Perez had another bad outing. He blew a save his last appearance and Tuesday gave up all three runs to the Nationals.
Werth and Rendon were a two-man wrecking crew. They went a combined 8 for 10 and were responsible for all three of the Washington's runs.
Ramirez made an error in the seventh giving the Dodgers 33 this season, tied for most in the majors.